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America needs a real-life Howard Beale. In case you are wondering, Howard Beale was a fictitious character in the 1978 Academy Award winning movie Network. Actor Robert Finch played the role of Beale who was a television news anchor that suffered a nervous breakdown one night during a newscast.

Howard Beale: Yesterday I announced on this program that I was going to commit public suicide. Admittedly an act of madness. Well, I'll tell you what happened. I just ran out of bullshit.

After years of reporting, Beale's network was going to let him go because of sagging ratings and he flipped out. He was allowed to go back on the air after his suicide threat because a great deal of public interest was generated and the network was eager to exploit the publicity.

Howard Beale: I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

A strange thing happened. People hoisted their windows, stuck their heads out and yelled. They were mad as hell. Howard Beale had struck a nerve with the people and ratings soared. The network ultimately rehired Beale, recast him as "the mad prophet", and gave him his own show.

Howard Beale: All I know is, you've got to get mad! You've got to say: I'm a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!

There are many Howard Beale posers on radio and television today. These broadcasters don't want their audience to vent their rage against an out-of-control government that seeks to control every facet of their lives. Instead, these broadcasters want people to become angry at their own political enemies.

Not a day goes by that talk show "conservatives" don't vent their rage at some outrage that exists because of the "liberal" government (controlled by "conservative" Republicans) or "liberal" decisions made by the Supreme Court (again, controlled by Republicans). The so-called "liberals" criticize the "conservatives" for government programs and wars that the "liberal" Democrats themselves voted for.

The "conservatives" and "liberals" point fingers at each other and call each other liars. Yet, "liberal" Democrats like John Kerry, John Edwards, and Joe Lieberman regurgitated the same lies that George Bush and Dick Cheney were telling about Saddam's WMD being a threat to the world.

Both groups use the media to spread their lies and propaganda. It is no secret that both Republicans and Democrats receive political contributions (or bribes) from many of the same sources. It is also no secret that special interests control the agendas of both parties.

Howard Beale: Television is not the truth! Television is a goddamned amusement park!

Many people watch the talking heads and pundits (paid political hacks) yell at each other and they choose a cult to root for based on emotional appeal. Those who want a strong father figure to take care of them often join the Republican cult. Those who want a nurturing mother figure to care for them generally choose the Democrat cult.

The role of corporate media is to present the propaganda of both cults. The corporations that bankroll the cults pay the media big bucks to play this role. The television executives call this advertising revenue. The same propagandists that create advertising often create propaganda for the political cults.

Howard Beale: We'll tell you anything you want to hear. We lie like hell.

The vast majority of Americans glued to their tube absorb hours and hours of misinformation and disinformation every week. Even worse than the crap that is peddled for truth is the information that is omitted.

Ask your "well-informed" neighbor about the Real ID (the new defacto national ID). Ask if they know that the bombing campaign against Iraq started six months before America went to war there. Ask them if they know about World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing on 9/11. Chances are, they will look at you with an utterly clueless blank stare.

They will be certain that you must be wearing a tinfoil hat because if they didn't see it on television, it didn't happen. They are certain that because they watch the "news" on television, they are well informed. If a third building collapsed on 9/11, they would certainly know. If America was bombing Iraq in September 2002, it would have been on TV.

Howard Beale: You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here, you're beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal! You do! Why, whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing, we are the illusion.

So, America needs a real-life Howard Beale. Americans need someone to tell them that they should be mad as hell. Americans need someone to tell them that television is not the truth. Most Americans are lulled into a stupor by happy talk or they have bought into the false debates presented by the political cults. Get a copy of Network and watch it. Then, open your window and throw your television out.

Howard Beale: Right now, there is a whole generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation; this tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers; this tube is the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people....


This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.